Goulamina Lithium Project

(Birimian 100%)

The Goulamina Lithium Project was previously called the Bougouni Lithium Project. The Company has changed the name to more closely reflect the geographic location and avoid possible confusion with other lithium projects. Goulamina comprises a large land holding (295km2) covering highly prospective lithium pegmatites in the Bougouni Region of southern Mali, approximately 150km by road from Mali’s capital, Bamako.

The Project hosts a spodumene (lithium) pegmatite deposit at Goulamina with a published Mineral Resource (compliant with JORC 2012 Reporting Guidelines) of 32.9 Mt @ 1.37% Li2O (0.4% Li2O cut-off, 451,000t contained Li2O) (BGS, 22 June 2017).

In January 2017 (BGS, 31 January 2017), the Company announced the results of a Scoping Study that concluded the Project was of sufficient commercial potential to justify progression to a Prefeasibility Study (PFS).

 

Goulamina Mineral Resource classifications, at a 0.4% Li2O cut-off

CATEGORY Zone Tonnes Li2O (%) Li2O (t) Fe2O3
INDICATED Weathered 1,000,000 0.91 9,000 1.72
  Fresh 24,300,000 1.39 338,000 1.05
INDICATED TOTAL 25,300,000 1.37 347,000 1.07
INFERRED Weathered 400,000 0.77 3,000 1.25
  Fresh 7,200,000 1.40 101,000 1.17
INFERRED TOTAL 7,600,000 1.37 104,000 1.17
 TOTAL INDICATED AND INFERRED 32,900,000 1.37 451,000 1.09

 

 

 

Goulamina

Large Tonnage Lithium Deposit

Reverse circulation and diamond drilling at Goulamina has so far identified three sub-parallel spodumene-bearing pegmatites termed Main, West and Sangar, which contain the current project Resource. Cross-sections are shown below. Auger geochemical sampling suggests all three bodies extend further north and south beneath shallow cover, well beyond the area currently drilled, possibly as much as 1.8km of strike.

Auger drilling has also identified major geochemical anomalies to the south-west of the resource area, which have been termed Yando, Danaya and Sabali. Numerous examples of outcropping pegmatite have been mapped within the Yando anomaly and grab samples have returned up to 3.44% Li2O (BGS, 5 September 2017). An untested strike length of prospective pegmatite in excess of 3km is indicated. The new target zones substantially increase the scope for significant resource expansion at Goulamina.

 

Economic Potential and Scoping Study

Over the past few years, robust demand and constrained supply have led to higher lithium prices – up strongly since the start of 2015. Future demand for lithium looks likely to continue, driven primarily by uptake of lithium batteries for electric cars and static storage. Significantly, lithium battery production capacity is forecast to be over 5-times the 2015 levels by 202514.

Spodumene is the main lithium bearing mineral in most hard rock lithium deposits. Ores are typically upgraded at the mine site by crushing, screening, dense media and flotation separation techniques to produce a spodumene concentrate. Chemical grade concentrate, typically containing 6% Li2O, is sold and converted into lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide for use in battery manufacturing and other industrial applications.

On 31 January 201715, Birimian announced that the Scoping Study for the Goulamina Lithium Project had confirmed the outstanding potential of the Project. The study concluded that the Goulamina deposit is likely to be amenable to low cost, open pit mining and staged processing plant development, benefiting from low mining strip ratios, high grade near-surface mineralisation, and the low-cost operating environment in Mali.

The Goulamina Project Scoping Study evaluated the technical and potential economic viability, at a preliminary level, of an open pit mine development at the Project's Goulamina deposit. It was based on the maiden Mineral Resource of 15.5Mt @ 1.48% Li2O. Various processing options were considered to optimise throughput capacity and recoveries, with consideration given to managing early stage potential cash flow and upfront capital costs. Mining and processing parameters were investigated at a US$537 per tonne selling price (6% Li2O concentrate).

The Scoping Study envisaged developing Goulamina as a 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) high grade open pit mine to supply material to a conventional dense media separation (DMS) plant (Stage 1), with a transition to processing medium-grained material by DMS and flotation in later years (Stage 2). The Scoping Study concluded that, subject to further detailed studies, the Project could deliver average annual production of approximately 190,000 tonnes of 6% Li2O concentrate over an initial 13-year Life of Mine (LoM). The LoM cash cost was estimated to be US$326 per tonne of concentrate.

Capital costs (determined to a nominal accuracy of +/‐30% in the Scoping Study) for the processing plant and associated project infrastructure were estimated at US$83.4M, including a US$10.9M contingency. The initial start-up capital cost for Stage 1 was estimated at US$ 47.2M and Stage 2 capital cost at US$36.2M, which could potentially be funded by Stage 1 cash flow.

 

Pre-feasibility Study and Project Outlook

This positive Scoping Study outcome led the Company’s board to approve the commencement of a PFS (BGS, 31 January 2017). In March (BGS, 14 March 2017) and June (BGS, 22 June 2017), the Company announced upgrades to the estimated Mineral Resource (now contains approximately 451,000t Li2O compared with 229,000t Li2O (BGS, 27 October 2016) at the commencement of the PFS). In June (BGS, 22 June 2017) the scope of the PFS was extended to incorporate the expanded Mineral Resource Inventory and to consider secondary processing of spodumene concentrate at concept study level. The expected completion date for the PFS was also extended by 3 months.

The PFS (BGS, 4 October 2017) confirmed the potential technical and economic viability of a 1-2 Mtpa plant producing 198,000-396,000 tonnes of spodumene (6% Li2O concentrate) over an operational mine life of 9 to 14 years. This projection was based solely on the Indicated component of the Resource Estimate announced in June 2017 (BGS, 22 June 2017). The development and commissioning schedule developed for the PFS included an 18-month construction period, commencing in mid-2019, with initial production expected in early 2021.

The PFS also indicated that secondary processing of the spodumene concentrate at a location close to the mine may substantially improve the project economics (BGS, 4 October 2017 and 6 October 2017). The table below summarises and compares the 5 options that were considered:

 

Description

Capex*
$M

NPV10**
$M

IRR
%

EBIT
$M

1

Base case: small pit at 1.0Mtpa

86.9

87

21

447

2

Large pit at 2.0 Mtpa for life of mine

126.3

136

25

556

3

Small pit at 1.0 Mtpa for first 3 yrs & 2.0Mtpa thereafter

139.7

92

22

393

4

Large pit at 1.0 Mtpa for first 3 yrs & 2.0Mtpa thereafter

142.0

126

22

649

5

Large pit at 2.0 Mtpa for life of mine with secondary processing

412.0

638

39

2,030

*  Capex includes contingency.
** NPV10 is post tax

 

Since the June 2017 announcement (BGS, 22 June 2017) potential for further resource expansion has been identified, with the known Mineral Resource open at depth and along strike, but more significantly, newly discovered lithium-bearing spodumene pegmatite outcrops providing several new exploration targets.

The PFS was critically restricted due to the limited resource inventory available to it; its initial scope; and its lack of understanding of the potential underlying resource base. The Company concluded that the PFS was inadequate to declare a maiden Mineral Reserve estimate, principally due to the limited metallurgical sampling and test work available to it.

Because of these restrictions and the anticipated additions (during the planned current and future drilling programs) to the Goulamina Mineral Resource Inventory, Birimian anticipates revising the Project PFS as soon as practicable in the first half of 2018.

In doing so, the Company’s objectives will be:

  1. To sufficiently outline the resources at Goulamina to enable the Company to undertake an accelerated and extensive drilling program to establish a JORC-compliant resource base, detailed metallurgical knowledge and a maiden Mineral Reserve Statement.
  2. To determine a preferred development option to enable early completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).
  3. To explore options to fast track the Project development phase with the objective of bringing Goulamina production onstream during 2019.

In tandem with this work, the Company will accelerate its examination of the best options for financing the development of Goulamina and for the sale of the Project’s production.

The work associated with the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) will continue, also in parallel with the revised PFS, with the target of achieving ministerial consent for the development of Goulamina in the first half of 2018.

 

 

 

The Goulamina Resource Area

 

 

Goulamina Resource Area and Major Geochemical
Anomalies (Yando, Danaya and Sabali)

 

 

Section at northing 1254900, showing Main and West loads

 

 

Section at northing 1254600, showing Main and West loads

 

 

Section at northing 1254100, showing Sangar load

 

 

 

Goulamina Project - Process Schematic

 

 

 

14 Deutsche Bank Market Research, “Lithium 101”, May 2016

15 Scoping Study – Cautionary Statements

The Scoping Study is a preliminary technical and economic study of the potential viability of the Goulamina Lithium Project. It is based on low accuracy technical and economic assessments, and is insufficient to support estimation of Ore Reserves or to provide assurance of an economic development case at this stage; or to provide certainty that the conclusions of the Scoping Study will be realised. Approximately 40% of the maiden Mineral Resource is in the Indicated category, with the remainder in the Inferred category.  However, additional drilling expanded the resource and increased confidence such that 77% is now in the indicated category.  There is a low level of geological confidence associated with Inferred mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the determination of Indicated or Measured Mineral Resources. Furthermore, there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the conversion of Indicated and Measured Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves.

 

 

 

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Birimian Limited
Second Floor, Spectrum Building
100 - 104 Railway Road
Subiaco WA 6008
Australia
P: +61 8 6382 2226

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